Tim Sitzmann

Tim Sitzmann

Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

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Latest Publications


Hawking a New Mascot

The big mascot news over the past year has been in the NFL, as Washington fights to maintain its registrations for the REDSKINS mark. As that dispute continues, the University of North Dakota tried to put to rest its...more

11/25/2015 - Corporate Branding NCAA Sports Team Mascots Trademarks

It’s Not Delivery, It’s Infringement.

We’re not talking pizza, we’re talking burgers. Not just any burgers, either, we’re talking In-N-Out burgers. As any California transplant will tell you, no other burger from any other restaurant comes close. In-N-Out has...more

11/12/2015 - Fair Use Fast-Food Industry Third-Party Trademark Infringement

Tissue Tussles at the Trademark Office

Each of the seasons has its own soundtrack to signal its transition. Spring is symbolized by the chirping of robins and sparrows. The sound of the grill and the splashing in the pool announces the arrival of Summer....more

10/29/2015 - Advertising Brand Functionality Generic Kimberly-Clark Trademark Registration Trademarks USPTO

Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Ads

Where are we going? The future. Well, 1985’s future, as predicted in 1989. And technically, it’s not the future anymore; it’s the present (and soon, the past). You see, in the movie series Back to the Future, today, October...more

10/21/2015 - Brand Fashion Branding Movies Nike PepsiCo Product Placement

Yosemite: The Park, the Name, and the Lawsuit

As the saying goes, possession is nine-tenths of the law. That other tenth can be pretty complicated, depending on what you’re “possessing.” When you’re arguing with an older brother over who “possesses” the remote control,...more

9/25/2015 - Breach of Contract Concession Agreements Court of Federal Claims Goodwill National Park Service Trademarks Vendors

Lego Adds a “Brick” to its Enforcement Strategy

The Danish Lego Group is no stranger to trademark disputes. Understandably, Lego enforces its rights in the LEGO mark against third-parties who use LEGO without their permission. Lego also claims trade dress rights in product...more

9/9/2015 - Children's Toys LEGO Trade Dress Trademark Application Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Trademarks

Can a Google Search Save Your Company $5 Million?

It sounds like a scam, but I swear, there is some truth to this headline. Just ask Hasbro, Inc., the owner of the Littlest Pet Shop line of toy animal figurines. If you have never seen one before, below is an example of two...more

9/2/2015 - Children's Toys Endorsements False Endorsements Hasbro IP Litigation Keyword Search Lanham Act Right of Publicity Trademark Searches Trademarks

Beer for Breakfast: Lessons in Co-Branding from General Mills

Yesterday General Mills announced that it had partnered with Fulton Brewery to create HefeWheaties: a limited edition brew. The beer is a Hefeweizen, which is traditionally a wheat-based beer, making it a perfect canvas for...more

8/13/2015 - Advertising Beer Brand General Mills IP License Royalties Trademarks

Octane Fitness Changed the Standard for Attorney’s Fee Award, but Has Anything Changed?

It’s no secret, lawsuits can be expensive. That’s why parties frequently consider the availability of recovering attorney’s fees when deciding whether to pursue (or defend) a lawsuit. While attorney’s fees have been available...more

7/31/2015 - Affirmative Defenses Attorney's Fees Bad Faith Exceptional Case Laches Lanham Act Octane Fitness v. ICON Trademarks Whole Foods

Trademarks on the Internet: Are Consumers Really this Clueless?

Are you unaware of the difference between search engine searches and the search results? Do you believe that a search engine can read your mind and return exactly (and only) the results you expect to receive? Is this your...more

7/15/2015 - Amazon Amazon Marketplace Brand Keyword Search Likelihood of Confusion Popular Retailers Search Engines Trademark Infringement Trademark Litigation Trademarks

Counterclaims for Cancellation Are Like Yoga Pants for Your Infringement Defense

Here’s one piece of advice you’ll hear from just about any trademark attorney: apply to federally register your marks as soon as financially possible. It is a very important step to take in order to protect your brand. A...more

7/3/2015 - Cease and Desist Entrepreneurs Fashion Branding Trademark Infringement Trademark Registration Trademarks

No Coke, Pepsi. No Infringement, Summary Judgment?

2015 was the 40th anniversary for the NBC comedy series, Saturday Night Live (SNL). After 40 years, a television show is bound to have a cultural impact. And one of the series’ most well known sketches involves Olympia...more

6/24/2015 - Amazon Internet Retailers Likelihood of Confusion Popular Retailers Search Engines Trademarks

Pepsi’s Next Generation: The Last Generation

Back in the 1960s, Pepsi burst onto the scene by announcing to the youth of decade that they were the Pepsi Generation (they didn’t have a choice). Then, in the 1980s, Pepsi became “The Choice of a New Generation.” And...more

6/11/2015 - Brand Marketing PepsiCo Trademark Registration Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Trademarks USPTO

Meet Batman’s New (Trademark) Nemesis: Rihanna

After making (and remaking (and re-remaking)) movies, sequels, and prequels for nearly every comic book character in its library, it appears that DC Comics has finally found a new foe for its Batman franchise: music and...more

5/29/2015 - Comics DC Comics Popular Trademark Infringement Trademark Litigation Trademarks Young Lawyers

The Juice Runs Out for Yankee Parody Trademarks

A good general business practice is to apply to register trademarks early. You’ll find out if there is an issue. You’ll have time to change rather than having to take everything off the shelf under the threat of a lawsuit....more

5/14/2015 - Fair Use Lanham Act Parody Trademark Infringement Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Trademarks

Remember the Alamo® but Don’t Forget the License.

With hard pressed economic times, state and local governments have turned to new sources of revenue: intellectual property licensing. The City of New York has been in the game for decades, licensing use of its the I ? NY...more

5/1/2015 - Brand IP License License Agreements Public Entities Trademarks

First dinosaurs, then wooly mammoths. Are trademark attorneys next to go extinct?

A world without trademark attorneys… frightening, isn’t it? (maybe more for me than for someone who isn’t a trademark attorney). It seems unlikely, but we may be inching closer to this apocalyptic scenario....more

4/16/2015 - Enterprise Software Software Trademark Infringement Trademarks

An Empirical Lesson on Bluffing in Trademark Disputes

While it’s a great song, Kenny Rogers’ classic The Gambler doesn’t provide much guidance on winning a game of poker....more

4/1/2015 - Entertainment Industry Fox Television Stations Music Industry Popular Trademark Infringement Trademark Litigation Trademarks

A Disclaimer for Disclaimers at the USPTO

You know that feeling when you’ve nearly crossed the finish line? You have done the work, put in the time, and the only step left is to run through the tape. There can be similar moments with trademark applications,...more

3/27/2015 - Disclaimers Trademarks USPTO

What Do Gripe Sites Have to Do with SCOTUS’s B&B Hardware Decision?

In December, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in B&B Hardware v. Hargis Industries. The case addresses the level of deference to be given to decisions from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, if any. We’ve discussed...more

3/11/2015 - B&B Hardware v Hargis Industries Likelihood of Confusion SCOTUS Trademark Infringement Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Trademarks Websites

All-Star Tips To Avoid Infringement Litigation

Shoes are always in the news. From a fashion standpoint, Nike has made headlines this week, with a re-release of the Classic Cortez running shoe (aka, the Forrest Gump shoe) along with the second edition of the LeBronald...more

2/27/2015 - Brand Fashion Industry H&M Infringement International Trademark Protection Ralph Lauren Trademark Infringement Trademark Litigation Trademarks

Crafting an Effective Fair Use Defense

The beer industry is rife with trademark legal issues. We’ve discussed quite a fe here, including disputes over brewery names, attempts to register as a trademark the design of a beer glass, or the longstanding issue of...more

2/18/2015 - Beer Breweries Fair Use Likelihood of Confusion Parody Trademarks Wine & Alcohol

Red Bull Strikes Again, but Is Old Ox Brewery a Matador in Disguise?

It’s no secret that Red Bull has a strong trademark enforcement strategy. Too strong, according to some. In its defense, IP counsel for Red Bull has stated that: With a brand as famous as Red Bull you can certainly imagine...more


Tacking: It’s Not Just for Judges Anymore

The U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t frequently take on trademark cases, so yesterday’s release of its decision in Hana Financial, Inc. v. Hana Bank should have been pretty exciting. We discussed the case back in June when the...more

1/22/2015 - Certiorari Hana Financial v Hana Bank Jury Questions Likelihood of Confusion SCOTUS Tacking Trademarks

Unicorns and Beer: A Match Made in Portland

Hipsters and Portland go together like…. hipsters and Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR). So naturally, when PBR decided to host a music festival, they chose Portland, Oregon. Unfortunately for PBR, some of their choices along the way...more

1/7/2015 - Beer IP License IP Litigation Licenses Municipalities Trademarks

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